International Yoga Day to witness Modi as show stopper, Congress calls it a photo-op


The government is all set to celebrate  International Yoga Day on June, 21 with preparations in full swing under the direct supervision of PM Modi.

With the PM insisting on taking every move and not worrying about the budget to make the International Yoga Day on June 21, Sunday, a memorable spectacle, the event has already been registered in the Guinness Book of World Records under ” largest yoga demonstration/class at a single venue.” The event is poised to witness 35 minutes demonstration of 15 Aasanas at Rajpath by a massive crowd comprising of 45,000 people, government officials, diplomats, military personnel, Bollywood celebrities of the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, cricketers and PM Modi himself.

Marketed with the tagline, “Live your life to its full potential” and “Apni sambhavnaon ko sambhav karo,” preparations for the mega event are under way with meetings being held at Rajpath every day. “We have written to all yoga gurus in India to come with their students to reach the number comfortably,” said the official.

Sripad Naik, minister of the newly hashed AYUSH ministry said that the programme will begin at 7 am on Sunday, June 21 which has been designated International Day of Yoga by the United Nations. It will end at 7.35 am.

In a meeting with I & B secretary Bimal Julka, all broadcasters have promised a 30 sec video to be shown at least four a times a day promoting the event. “Several actors such Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor and Shilpa Shetty perform yoga. We are looking at reaching out to them for help to increase awareness for the event,” an official said.

On June 21 and June 22, the government is also hosting a conference on “yoga for holistic health” at Vigyan Bhavan that will have keynote addresses from speakers from 18 countries.

The gusto of Prime Minister Modi towards Yoga is well known. He pitched for inculcating Yoga in people’s lives in his maiden address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York last year. Consequently, the United Nations had in December last year declared June 21 as the International Yoga Day, with 177 countries voting in favour.

Reaching out to the entire global community through Facebook, Modi wrote, “Friends, 21st June…I am sure you remember. The first ever International Day of Yoga will be observed on that day. The entire global community has come together in support of celebrating this day. Now, that strong support has also turned into immense enthusiasm. I am seeing several people and organisations across the world are working towards making the first ever International Day of Yoga a memorable event. Together let us make Yoga a mass movement connecting people, strengthening the bonds of humanity.”

However, several scholars and clerics of the Muslim community opposed the mandatory attendance at schools in Maharashtra to answer to the PM’s call.

” The order is undemocratic and amounts to infringing on the rights of a group of citizens who don’t worship anyone except Allah who is formless and omnipresent. Like other religious groups, Muslims revere their mothers and believe that heaven is at mother’s feet. Yet, they don’t bow to their mothers or touch their feet as they are mandated to only bow to Allah,”

said Dr Zahir Kazi, president of Anjuman-I-Islam, which runs a chain of schools and professional colleges in the state of Maharashtra.

The state education minister, Vinod Tawde said that yoga session be held on June, 21 itself. A compensatory holiday can be worked out later.

With the intent to ensure that the event is indeed a grand spectacle, the government also invited Congress President, Sonia Gandhi; Vice President, Rahul Gandhi and Delhi C.M., Arvind Kejriwal to participate in the Yoga drive. However, the Congress accused the government of hypocrisy alleging that with the funds allocated to AYUSH under-utilised till date, the celebration is a mere photo-op and an event management exercise.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said:

“There is a hiatus between reality and hype. What you speak and shout from the rooftop and the figures on the ground are different. The Department of AYUSH has utilised only 43 per cent of its budget allocation in the last one year.”

Singhvi said the utilisation of funds at the Moraraji Desai National Institute of Yoga was just 4 per cent while at the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, it was 30 per cent.